Daily Life

Stop that Pigeon!

Lots of serious stuff is going down at the moment, yet the biggest gripe in my mind is how to deal with a bloody pigeon.

One of my escapes has been the garden at Kangaeroo Corner, and one of the areas of which I had been proudest was the flourishing lawn.

Except, it’s no longer flourishing.

In May, I went heavy-handed on the fertilizer in the expectation of warm, dry weather followed by the rain and warmth of June and July. The rain barely came and the heat was dry and blistering.

I didn’t realize that I needed to compensate by drenching the lawn.

It dried up and became a dustbowl, almost overnight. I stupidly tried to rectify the situation with more fertilizer, which exacerbated the problem as the fertilizer scorched the grass roots.

Now the garden is a patch of dirt.

I went through all the YouTube solutions I could and have tried to rectify the situation. Lack of patience is proving a terrible foe.

I’ve sourced grass seed that can be planted year-round, even in the extreme heat of summer, and I spread it in the hope of recovering the garden’s greenery. Some patches have emerged, but for the most part, I have been feeding an oriental turtledove, which is basically a fancy name for a bloody pigeon with markings, that enjoys tucking into the seed.

To be honest, having spent the vast majority of time since the start of the pandemic with only a bird as a companion, I am not averse to avian friends.

But the neighbors complained in the most passive-aggressive manner possible when I was feeding birds with daily handouts of seeds that I felt compelled to stop, and I have upheld my promise not to deliberately feed them.

But the lawn seed has drawn this one bird in particular and I am having nightmares about trying to keep her away and restore the delightful green carpet that once adorned the garden.

Unfortunately, in the great Australian tradition of futile wars on birds, I’m losing.

We recently had a long weekend and I spent the bulk of it keeping watch over the lawn to allow the seed time to root and grow.

Calling out the big guns: A sprinkler is the latest weapon in the so-far futile attempt to revive the devastated lawn at Kanageroo Corner

As long as I remained vigilant, it was OK. Every time I noticed the bird coming into the garden, I could leap up and throw a sandal at it or spray it with the hose and it would fly off. All good, except it would return. And the process was repeated.

I can’t maintain a 24-hour watch, though, so I have been heartbroken to wake and see the patches where the seed has been gobbled up overnight.

It’s gotten me infuriated and disheartened, but I am also pleased in a way that the bird has found a source of food in the heat of the summer. And the oriental turtledove is, after all, a symbol of the city in which we live, so I am performing a civic duty of sorts, I guess.